Solution finder problem solver
You may remember my blogs on how to delegate effectively? Here, I presented some approaches for successfully leading both a company, and a team. Amongst the things discussed was the so-called monkey business, where a boss is unable to hand over responsibility. Why? He thinks he can do everything better, than his team anyway. Another facet is the “solution-production-machine-mode”.
This means nothing other than that you, as the head of your company, tend to take on and over your employees’ problems. And then immediately come up with a suitable solution. If, for example, there are problems with the processing of a job, you act as a “problem solver” and offer a solution very quickly. Someone has a question? No problem – you have the answer and the solution.
This peculiarity, which in itself is something positive (namely, helping others who may be in need), can quickly turn in to the opposite. If you’re always the problem solver, if you help those around you all the time, you end up in a “help loop”, from which neither you, nor your employees can escape. In fact, in the long run, helping can also be seen as a weakness.
Solution finder boss – where’s the problem?
If you are a solution finder, you will run into challenges – sooner, rather than later, and for both yourself and your team. Solution finding becomes a bad habit because you, as the boss, feel responsible for everything. At the same time, you deprive your team of the opportunity to find solutions to problems etc. themselves. The negative consequences:
- You disenfranchise your team, make them feel small, belittle them as your counterpart
- You force yourself into the role of a rescuer, thus, turning your team into the rescued
- Your employees only come to you, when they have a problem
- You spend a lot of your day solving other people’s problems
For your employees, especially the first two points mean: they aren’t taken for full, they aren’t treated as adults, but as children. Keep the following in mind: your team doesn’t want to be saved! Your team/your employees actually WANT to look for solutions themselves and be part of the decision-making processes! This will relieve both you, and your team.
How can my team become solution finders with me?
Studies have shown that being influential is a key factor in your employees’ job satisfaction. According to these studies, possible stress and burnout in your team often occur due to a feeling of powerlessness, and less due to the workload. These employees only implement what they’re told to do, things, they may consider senseless, and not what they deem sensible.
This means that employees can’t shape things themselves and therefore, aren’t really an integral part of the company. They may also not find all the things you decide and do particularly sensible. You need employees who have high problem-solving skills, who can assess and evaluate risks. You need employees who think for themselves and who question things.
You need employees who can optimise processes, who don’t just come up to you because/when they have a problem. Don’t develop solutions, develop your team! If one of your employees comes to you with a problem, don’t start solving it again immediately! Instead, take your employees “with you”, involve him or her in finding a solution.
Ask the right “solution finding” questions
You can do this by asking your employees the following questions:
- What did you do to solve the problem, who did you talk to about it?
- What would you do if I, as the boss, wasn’t there?
- What are your ideas and your ideal status quo?
- What exactly do you need from me now?
If an employee admits to not having considered these questions or to not having done anything yet, he will probably think about the problem himself, before running to you. Ideally, in the long run, you can get your team to be frank with you and telling you to your face that you’re once more heading towards becoming a problem solver. This can look like this:
- Why don’t you give the problem back to the team?
- You don’t have to worry about it, we’ll take care of it!
- We don’t need you, as the boss, at THAT appointment!
- Important: Be happy about it and don’t take it personally!
Would you also like to be one of those bosses, who not only lead their team, but who are also led by their team? Would you like to evolve as a boss and take on a role that not only advances you, but also your company? If so, call me today for your personal initial consultation at +49 (0)40 80 9031 9016 or leave a message here